We associate summer with whitewater rafting, water skiing, and bungee jumping. But if you are living with psoriatic arthritis, these activities may not be right for you. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your immune system mistakenly starts attacking healthy joints and skin. This condition can cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
However, just because you live with psoriatic arthritis, doesn’t mean you cannot make the most of the season. Create a summer fun list with the following ideas to keep you feeling your best and enjoying the great outdoors.
Go swimming. Movement keeps your joints and tendons loose, which can help you combat the pain and swelling. Swimming can be particularly helpful because it is a low impact exercise. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, swimming can help you strengthen your back, shoulders, and hips while providing a cardiovascular workout. Be sure to provide your skin the care it needs before you take the plunge.
Try yoga outside. Summer is a great time to find an outside yoga class. If your area is not offering a class outside, create your own outdoor studio in your yard or at the nearest park with a mat and a comfortable towel and pillow. There are many yoga routines like this one that you can stream on your phone while you stretch and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Ride a bike. Biking is a wonderful summer family activity. It also allows you to get in a cardiovascular workout while participating in a low-impact exercise. Bikes come in all shapes and sizes. A racing bike with a smaller seat may not be the best choice if you are feeling stiff and sore. Instead, check out some of the super cool beach cruisers that are now available to rent or buy. These bikes usually have bigger tires to absorb more of the surface impact, and you can sit up more comfortably, especially during longer rides.
Take a water aerobics class. According to the Arthritis Foundation, working out in the water is helpful because the water’s buoyancy supports your body weight, which reduces stress on the joints and minimizes pain. Water aerobics does not require you to know how to swim. It is typically done in water that is waist deep. Most classes are led by an instructor and some classes are set to music. You can usually modify your movements in the pool to make the class as hard or as easy as you like.
If you have extremely limited mobility, here are a few activities that may be more appropriate for you.
Go fishing. It does not take much in the way of equipment to have a great day of fishing. A simple rod, reel, and bait are all that is needed. Many towns have areas that you can fish from, such as a public dock with handicap access where you can drive right to the spot. If you have not fished in your area before, check out this site to find out the nearest fishing hole near you and what may be needed in the way of a fishing license.
Pick berries at a local farm. Berries, widely available in the summer, are full of inflammation-fighting antioxidants. There are many places you can find to pick your own berries. You can drive right to the berry patch and then stay only as long as your body allows. Many of the larger farms and berry patches are used to accommodating older or less mobile customers, so do not hesitate to ask if you need special assistance.
Camp in comfort. Camping is about much more than sleeping in a tent. It is about eating outside, gazing at the stars, and surrounding yourself with nature. This can happen just as easily in a small camper or recreational vehicle as it can sleeping on the hard ground. If you decide to go camping, make the trip shorter, at least on your first adventure. You may also want to pace yourself as you pack and get ready to go. You can plan your trip around relaxing activities such as playing cards, picnicking, and telling family stories.